69-Year-Old Leader of Largest Drug Ring in Humboldt County History Sentenced to 6 Years in Jail

ARCATA, California – The leader of the largest drug ring bust in Humboldt County Drug Task Force history was sentenced to a split sentence of six years in the Humboldt County jail and 12 years on mandatory supervision in January. Jose Lomeli-Osuna, 69, pleaded guilty to five counts of drug trafficking charges and was given a split sentence due to his age and limited health care resources in the county jail.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Christopher Wilson expressed his regret that state law prevented him from sending Lomeli-Osuna to prison, and he emphasized that the sentence was the most maximum term that he could impose. The prosecution disagreed with the custody cap, noting that Lomeli-Osuna had a prior felony conviction and was trafficking a large amount of fentanyl.

In the drug bust that led to Lomeli-Osuna’s arrest, the Humboldt County Drug Task Force seized 30 pounds of meth, 5.5 pounds of cocaine, three pounds of heroin, two pounds of fentanyl, 150 marijuana plants, 50 pounds of processed marijuana, $115,500, and two revolvers. This quantity of meth exceeded the total amount seized in task force operations in the entire previous year.

Lomeli-Osuna’s defense counsel, Meagan O’Connell, expressed his regret for the situation, explaining that his wife’s illness and cancer treatment costs had contributed to his involvement in drug trafficking. Lomeli-Osuna’s wife passed away while he was in custody.

Despite Lomeli-Osuna’s regret, the judge noted that this was not his first offense, citing two prior instances where he faced charges related to substance trafficking, which resulted in deportations and a three-year prison stay.

The six-year split sentence was considered a reasonable amount of time for Lomeli-Osuna to be out of the community, and with his immigration status, deportation is likely after his release from custody. This case was identified as one of the top news stories in Humboldt County for 2023.

In conclusion, the leader of a major drug ring in Humboldt County was given a split sentence due to age and health care concerns, despite objections from the prosecution about the custody cap. The substantial drug bust led to the seizure of large quantities of various drugs, money, and weapons in multiple locations, with the amount of meth exceeding the total seized in the previous year. This case has underscored the ongoing challenges in combating drug trafficking in the region.